It’s true to say that people want to become writers for a variety of reasons. For some its a need to communicate, they have something to say and they can’t stop themselves from communicating it to others. For others they want to earn a living working for themselves and doing something they love. For many they just want to make a lot of money and writing, they know from seeing the success of people like JK Rowling, is certainly one way of doing it.
Which one do you think I am? It’s possible you might assume I am the latter, and if I’m honest I have to admit I started out that way. I had an urge to be a writer but I was totally focussed on the outcome of being rich and famous. It wasn’t until later in life after having a little fame and fortune I realised that fame is not all it’s cracked up to be and fame for its own sake is ultimately useless, and actually kind of embarrassing. Witness all the people in the public eye who are famous for nothing but being famous.
I soon realised that authenticity and honest aims of being good at what I do are worth a lot more to me than money I didn’t really earn and fame I don’t deserve. Writing a good book that has something to say is its own reward. But yeah we all have to earn a living, so of the three types of writer its better to be the middle one, someone who earns a living through something they love.
Let’s face it you have to love writing if you want to earn your living doing it. You’ll be doing it all day and sometimes it won’t be as fun as you’d like. I worked as a writer for almost 30 years and there were days I hated it. But it’s like being a doctor, you earn a lot of money but you have to put up with a lot of other people’s pain and suffering.
So how do you earn money writing and feel good about yourself at the same time? I read a lot, as you know, and a lot of things I read to help me be a better writer are not your obvious writer coaching books. I read a lot of self help books, not because I’m broken and need help, but because I like to know how people think. Along the way I’ve found a lot of terrific books and authors who truly have something to say about the human condition. One of these is Napoleon Hill.
You might not know his name but he is one of the great granddaddies of self help and success literature. He wrote his famous book “Think and Grow Rich” in the 1930s, and it’s still as relevant today as it was then, especially its perspective on success in the face of an economic depression (what financial people like to call the “downturn” to minimise any thoughts about anyone being responsible for it). I loved the book so much when I first read it I bought a beautiful black leather bound volume with gold edged pages to enhance my reading experience and give the book the respect it is due in my life. Also it kinda looks like a bible and when I get it out people are sometimes a little bit freaked out by it, like I’m going to start preaching, and I love nothing more than subverting people’s expectations.
So I would highly recommend that you seek out your own copy of “Think and Grow Rich” for yourself and see how many ideas it has about personal growth, running a business, thinking about your own success as holistic whole, and give you tons of ideas for stories based on the case studies and other things he talks about in the book as examples of lives that went badly but ended well.
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